MatchDay: Timbers at Chivas USA

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TIMBERS AT CHIVAS USA

When/where: 7:30 p.m. today at Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif.

TV: Live on Root Sports (Comcast cable Ch. 34, 734).

Radio: AM 750 (AM 940 Spanish broadcast).

Records: Portland is 5-4-2 (17 points), Chivas is 3-4-5 (14 points).

Why to watch: Portland is shooting for its first MLS road win, six days after suffering its first league loss at home.

PROJECTED TIMBERS STARTERS

Forwards: Kenny Cooper, Jorge Perlaza.

Midfielders: Kalif Alhassan, Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chara, Sal Zizzo.

Defenders: Rodney Wallace, Mamadou “Futty” Danso, Eric Brunner, Jeremy Hall.

Goalkeeper: Troy Perkins.

Key alternatives: MF Darlington Nagbe, F Eddie Johnson, MF Adam Moffat, MF Ryan Pore, D David Horst, F Brian Umony, GK Adin Brown.

ABOUT CHIVAS USA

Mexican-owned Club Deportivo Chivas USA joined MLS in 2004. It is the sister team of Mexico’s Club Deportivo Guadalajara and shares Home Depot Center with the L.A. Galaxy.

THE MATCHUP

Watch for: Will Portland play with the concentration and composure needed to score a win away from home? Will the fact that the Timbers beat Chivas in a U.S. Open Cup play-in match in April help their confidence?

Does width matter? Will the slightly-larger field at the Home Depot Center help Portland’s overlapping attack, or hurt its ability to stay cohesive defensively?

The grass field at the Home Depot Center measures 120 yards long by 75 yards wide. The FieldTurf at Jeld-Wen Field measures 110 by 70, the minimum MLS dimensions.

Portland coach John Spencer said this week that the having a few extra yards to use on the attack and to defend does not change the game, even for his team which likes to initiate the attack by overlapping its wide players.

“It’s 11 players vs. 11 players,” Spencer said. “The rules are the same. The ball is the same pressure.”

Having a little bit more field to cover is no excuse for poor defending, the coach added.

“I don’t think space makes you lose shape. I think lack of concentration makes you lose shape,” Spencer said. “When we were down there for the Galaxy match (a 3-0 loss on April 23), space never killed us. Lack of concentration, lack of quality at the start of the game, that’s what beat us. Not space. I’ve never seen space score a goal. Players score goals.”

Timbers captain Jack Jewsbury said more space can mean more time for both teams to hold possession.

“There’s going to be times when they have the ball a little more and we need to be sure we’re organized on defense,” Jewsbury said. “Hopefully we can keep the ball a little more because it is a bigger field and create some chances off of it.”

NOTABLE

• Timbers midfielder Sal Zizzo played in 10 matches last season with Chivas USA after joining the team at midseason.

• Starting central defender Mamadou Danso will play, staying with the Timbers despite an opportunity to join The Gambian national team for several matches.

• On March 29, Portland beat Chivas USA 2-0 in a U.S. Open Cup play-in match at the University of Portland, though both teams starting 11 will be somewhat different today.

• On Friday, the Timbers announced they will host Club Atlético Independiente of Argentina in an exhibition match at 8 p.m. on July 26.

• Injury report: Timbers — Out: FW Bright Dike (Achilles rupture); GK Jake Gleeson (elbow sprain); MF Peter Lowry (quadriceps strain); Probable: DF Kevin Goldthwaite (ankle); MF Jack Jewsbury (groin strain); FW Eddie Johnson (Achilles tendinitis); MF Adam Moffat (gluteal contusion); MF Darlington Nagbe (groin strain); FW Brian Umony (knee MCL sprain). Chivas USA — Doubtful: MF Blair Gavin (hamstring strain); DF Jimmy Conrad (concussion); Probable: DF Michael Lahoud (concussion); MF Paulo Nagamura (calf strain); FW Tristan Bowen (ankle sprain); DF Seth Owusu (knee sprain).

FAN GUIDE

Radio coverage: 750 AM has one-hour pregame and postgame shows.

More information: www.portlandtimbers.com.

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